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Friday, July 1, 2011

Packing for Sacrament Meeting

by Bitner (bio)

If you have kids, you know what I'm talkin' bout. Sacrament meeting is not just a 70-minute meeting wherein we partake of sacred emblems and hear a wide variation of messages, not all of them spiritual. And not all of them heard.

No, sacrament meeting is an event that can seem to consume a full weekend and it must be packed for accordingly.

Wife: "Did you pack the grapes?"

Me: "Not yet, I'm busy getting the extra box of fishies from our food storage because we're all out!"

Wife: "Well, get the fruit snacks and the pretzels while you're at it!"

Me: "Don't forget sippies! We need water or these kids are going to beg for trips to the drinking fountain. But not too much or they're going to be begging to go to the ---"

Wife: "---I KNOW!!!"

Me: "Well...just checkin'. Wait, what did you need again?"

Wife: (heavy sigh) "Fruit snacks an ---"

Me: "--- I GOT IT!!!"

And that's the type of spiritually uplifting exchange that happens between husband and wife prior to the raced departure for sacrament meeting.

And then there's the activity bag. Son of a motherless goat! One must think of everything.

Children's church books
Quiet toys (if they exist)
Homemade flip books and activities
WIPES!!!!! (Dude, if you are sans wipes, you are toast!)
Gum - everyone at church needs it and it's a great incentive for the kiddies

If you're like us, you just have a 'church bag' that sits in a closet all week waiting for its weekly use. But it often needs replenishment, refreshing, or just plain detoxing.

Invariably we carry in three or more bags. (What? Are we going on an overnighter?!) And invariably there is a massive clean-up effort after sacrament meeting ends.

I know picture-taking is taboo in church (thank you Bishop Higgins), but I had to quickly snap this one, which only captures about 2/3 of the mess. The infant has his own bag. See the baseball cap? That's to cover the baby's awkward balding pattern. This mess was a particularly bad one for us -- it stretched well into the aisle to the left of us and the walkway behind us.

My wife missed most of the meeting due to feeding the babe. But she wasn't too exhausted for a bit of counsel:

"[Bitner] you gotta limit them to one thing out at a time!"

I had no response.

What are your secrets for packing for and executing a smooth sacrament meeting?

Your answers should be honest, but know that any suggestion including the words "iPhone, iPad, i-anything, or send my kids to the fun-loving couple that doesn't have kids" will be discounted fully.

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